All my own work: exploring academic integrity
All my own work: exploring academic integrity

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All my own work: exploring academic integrity

5 Myth busting

To conclude this first session, have a go at Activity 4 which uncovers some of the common myths around plagiarism, referencing, collaboration and collusion.

A see-saw with Facts and Myths on either side. The ‘Facts’ side is weighed down.

Activity 4

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes.

Your task is to try to identify whether a statement is true, false or not always.

There is an acceptable threshold I can plagiarise before it is an issue.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is b.

Answer

False: No plagiarism is ‘acceptable’. If you are able to identify material in your work that has been derived from another source it should be referenced and written in your own words. Do not assume that ‘not a lot of plagiarism’ is not an issue, nor that it is an acceptable defence.

If someone copies my work, it is they who has plagiarised.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is c.

Answer

Not always: Firstly, if someone copies your work but cites and references to illustrate that is what they have done, they have not plagiarised. Secondly, it may actually be you that has plagiarised by ‘making available’ your work such that it encouraged or enabled plagiarism. For example, sharing your assignments (unmarked or marked) with other students or posting your answers online, may be considered to ‘enable plagiarism’ and might be covered by your institutions Plagiarism Policy.

Avoiding plagiarism is a writing skill that I can develop.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is a.

Answer

True: Plagiarism is not always wilful cheating. Most often, it is a lack of good academic writing practice where material you have used has not been referenced correctly. This is something you can learn.

I only used materials or textbooks that were provided to me, so I did not need to reference.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is b.

Answer

False: If it is not your own words then it must be referenced. Regardless as to whether you are using course materials, online materials or any other source, if you have taken material from somewhere else, it is the work of somebody else and must therefore be attributed accordingly. Think back to the idea of an ‘audit trail’. Even if you have written something in your own words, it may be appropriate to include a reference to acknowledge the source of the original ideas.

My university may still take action even if my tutor has not found any plagiarism in my work.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is a.

Answer

True: Although tutors have an appropriate expert knowledge and are familiar with a wide variety of specialist academic texts, they are not expected to be able to detect all instances of plagiarism in assignments. The process of checking assignments for plagiarism and the process of marking are often separate processes. This means that your university may still take action even if your tutor has not identified instances where plagiarism has occurred.

It was unintentional so does not count.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is b.

Answer

False: Plagiarism requires no intent. Whether you intended to plagiarise or not, or indeed whether you realised or understood plagiarism to have occurred, does not render the plagiarism having actually occurred any different. Plagiarism is plagiarism, whether or not you intended it.

Difficult personal circumstances are not a defence to plagiarism.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is a.

Answer

True: Institutions cannot take account of personal mitigation, such as recent poor health, computer issues or rushing to get the assignment in, when considering whether plagiarism has or has not occurred. It either has or has not, regardless of any other factors. These factors may, however, allow a more practical study plan to be put into place to help avoid any later issues. Many institutions have appropriate mechanisms in place to support students experiencing difficult circumstances.

Collaboration is encouraged.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is a.

Answer

True: Collaborative learning is encouraged. Good collaborative practice involves individuals working together to help each other understand or discuss a topic or task in a general way. On the other hand, collusion is not acceptable. Collusion can occur when working too closely with others to discuss and/or draft answers. It can also happen by sharing notes, ideas or other study materials with each other.

Plagiarism is when you try to cheat.

a. 

True


b. 

False


c. 

Not always


The correct answer is c.

Answer

Not always: Plagiarism is simply the absence of a formal acknowledgement that you are using the thoughts and ideas of someone else. ‘Formal acknowledgement’ is in the form of an appropriate reference (in-text and at the end of your work). If you are using direct quotes, you need to specify exactly which words are those of the other author(s). A direct quote should have a clearly defined beginning and end. You do not have to intend to plagiarise or intend to seek an unfair advantage. You will still have plagiarised if you have not illustrated to the reader that certain parts of your work have come from another source.

AMW_1

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